Rapid Site Development

You may remember me talking about the new Rapid Site 3 software that’s being  developed for Customerstreet by Stuart Laverick.

Well it’s getting pretty exciting now with the core functionality completed. Stuart has a long (but very interesting post) on how the software is shaping up here.

Over the next few weeks we will be adding even more functionality to the software, including built in SEO functions that will be hidden in the back end – so users will not have to worry about understanding how websites are optimised for search engines.  We’re also investigating the use of a “traffic light” system which will not allow pages to be published live until they meet a simple (but quite strict) criteria for seo.

All pages will be created using xhtml and css, so that when page styles are switched off the page  reads like a page of normal text with headings and paragraphs. This is known as semantic text and search engines love it.

Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Msn are really only interested in the text on a web page – it’s all they can read (apart from alternate text adding to images) so if we can give them this text in a clean logical format they will crawl the web page more efficiently.

I’ll keep you up to date on the seo improvements.

August 30, 2007 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

New to Seo? Definitions You Need To Know

SEO requires a lot of reading and background information in order to understand how the search engines work and what you need to do to rank better. Problem is that most of this information is held online in blogs, articles, forums and general web pages.

In many cases articles have been written for professionals by professionals and contain lots of acronyms and industry related terms.
Here’s a list of SEO-related definitions which serve as a great companion for your initial SEO reading. Read alone it will get you up to speed on some key terminology that you’ll need to know to intelligently engage the ever-changing world of SEO.
Algorithms. A search algorithm is a mathematical formula that a search engine uses to “rank” web sites for keywords. Based on a huge number of variables and calculations, algorithms are among the most closely-guarded secrets on the internet. Why? Imagine if they were leaked – suddenly the less-than-honest would have a very specific guideline to follow in climbing to the top of search results in a less-than-organic way, ruining the quality of Google’s search results and their entire competitive advantage with it.

Bot or Bots. See also “crawlers”

Crawlers. Googlebot, for example, is a search engine crawler. Googlebot periodically traverses the web in record time, indexing content, links – everything contained in page source code – and storing it in Google’s search index. Then, when a user visits Google and enters a search phrase, the index, filtered by the algorithm, is what the user gets.

Directories. Directories are like a phone book, and is not like a directory (folder) on your computer. Like a phone book, the directory holds information about different categories – they may be business or special interest. In the past directories have been used to exploit link popularity. However, Google and the other major search engines are on to this tactic, and the word among SEO “experts” is that the benefits of listing your site at directories are diminished if not gone.

Frames. Frames are a way of laying out a website with multiple documents in one browser window. From an SEO standpoint the use of frames for your layout is not recommended. Since frames do not use links in the same way, and since links may point to one frame from another, they may cause serious problems for crawlers.

Gateway Pages. Also “doorway pages.” Pages created to “rank well in search engines” by playing to the algorithms. However, any page written with search in mind, and geared towards search, can be construed to be a “gateway page.” The difference between a page well-optimized for search and a “gateway page?” No clear lines there, but quality of content is probably the determining factor.

HTML. HTML stands for Hyper-Text Mark-up Language, and it is the core building block that has made the web the greatest modern tool for business, social, informational, political and any other causes. Search engines look exclusively at a web page’s HTML code to determine its relevance. It’s important to pay attention to HTML and familiarize yourself with proper HTML programming techniques if you’re hoping to get a good handle on SEO.
Link Popularity. Inbound links are probably the most important optimization point for web pages. Link popularity (in terms of quantity) measures how many pages point to your site using link text. Number, quality, trust – these are all factors that affect the value of an inbound link.

Link Building. In short, the process of gaining links at other web sites pointing in to pages on your own.

Link Baiting. The process of generating high-quality content or articles on your web pages that users will appreciate and link to voluntarily.

More to come 🙂

August 13, 2007 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

Basics of search engine optimisation – Part four – Alternate Text

Whenever you place an image on your website the alternative text for that image should be specified. Alternate text is also known as alt text or alt tags. Alternative text is used as a replacement for an image, whenever the image cannot be seen. This can happen, for example, when someone:

  • uses a speech browser (e.g. a visually impaired person)
  • uses a text-only browser (e.g. lynx or browsing from a mobile phone)
  • uses a web browser with images turned off

Alternative text is also used in other circumstances: for example, Google image search uses alternate text to help return appropriate images.

Below is an example of good alternate text in programming code –

Here is a picture of Bridget, the dog.
<img src=”bridget.jpg” alt=”Irish Red Setter Dog”
title=”Irish Red Setter Dog” />

August 13, 2007 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

Top Internet Brands

Danny Sullivan over at searchengineland has a really interesting post about the top  brands online – no surprises here with Google being the biggest brand and Yahoo and Amazon the next two.

It’s pretty remarkable that Google has grown in less than a decade to become the most dominant brand online. Since those very early days of backrub Larry Page and Sergey Brin have always been at the forefront of how search results should be collated and organised and it’s no wonder that Google has grown so quickly. Below is a screen shot of Google circa 1997 –

google-search-engine_1979.jpg

Even way back in 1997 the basics were apparent – a clean simple search interface which presented the searcher with results quickly. I guess in a world where everything is getting more technically advanced it take genius to go with a simple interface that allows anyone with limited technical knowledge to use it.

Google Backrub

Larry and Sergey’s original set up for Google/Backrub is shown above. They’ve come a long way in a short time 🙂

BTW Anyone who is interested in the top online brands here goes;

The brand ranking was as follows:

  1. Google
  2. Yahoo
  3. Amazon
  4. eBay
  5. MySpace
  6. Microsoft (including MSN)
  7. AOL
  8. Apple
  9. Others

August 9, 2007 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

Keyworddiscovery Free Keyword Suggestion Tool

Finding the correct keywords to put on your website is essential – good keyword research is the backbone of any search engine optimisation processes for your website.

Without keyword research you don’t really have any idea of what people are searching for on the internet.

Keyword research will help you to find keywords which are relevant to your website and placing them in your pages and links will help a search engine identify what your webpage is about.

Part of my role at Customer Street is to ensure that right keywords are chosen for your web site and I use KeywordDiscovery.

KeywordDiscovery compiles keyword search statistics from over 180 search engines world wide, to create the most powerful Keyword Research tool. Normally you will pay a monthly fee for using this services but keyworddiscovery have now introduced a free version of their software which is excellent.

I’ve been using the paid version for over a year now and it’s one of the most useful tools in your seo arsenal.

Click here to find out more.

August 6, 2007 at 9:01 am Leave a comment

#1 on Google

Pleasant surprise today – one of our customers websites AMBS Mortages is #1 on Google after the web site being live for only 11 days.

mortgage-worthing-google-search.jpg

August 1, 2007 at 3:43 pm 2 comments

UK Public believe Google will still be #1 in Five Years Time

An online survey of approximately 1,100 people in the UK  found that 61% of respondents believed that Google would still be the leading search engine in five years.

When asked “Do you want Google to be the leading search engine in five years time?” the response was somewhat different, with a smaller majority (53%) saying yes.

“Do you think Google will be the leading search engine in five years time?”

ScreenHunter_598.jpg

“Do you want Google to be the leading search engine in five years time?”

ScreenHunter_597.jpg

The survey authors draw the conclusion that the UK public perception of Google has been largely unaffected by controversies that get lots of coverage among search industry insiders.

It’s also interesting that  56% of women than men wanted Google to remain the main search engine of choice for the next five years. This suggests that more women are happy with using Google search than men.

Another way to view these data is that 46% of the UK audience (second question) is, to varying degrees, open to alternatives to Google.

July 30, 2007 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

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